Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Poker machine reform

E & OE – Proof only

REPORTER: What do you make of the (inaudible)

MACKLIN: I understand that the NRL and the AFL are very strong footy codes- I’m a big footy supporter myself. But I think all of us – governments, football clubs- all have a duty of care to do everything that we can to help problem gamblers and that’s what we are trying to do.

REPORTER: Is the claim that your reforms (inaudible)

MACKLIN: I don’t think so. I think we have very strong football codes. The NRL, the AFL are both very, very strong. They support a lot of local footy teams right around Australia. But I think if you look at the West Australian Football League you can see a very strong league that survives and supports its community clubs without relying on money from problem gambling.

REPORTER: What did you think (inaudible)

MACKLIN: Well we had an inquiry done by the Productivity Commission, it reported back in 2010. And that Productivity Commission inquiry recommended that we introduce a system of pre-commitment to make sure that people make a decision when they sit down to play the poker machines about how much they want to lose. That’s what we are implementing – the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

MACKLIN: Well the Productivity Commission did their inquiry, we published their report, we are now implementing this system of pre-commitment to give those people who are gambling, who are problem gamblers, an extra tool to help them manage their money better.

REPORTER: What do you say (inaudible)

MACKLIN: Well I understand that this is a change that we are having lots of discussion about. But I also know that nobody wants to profit from problem gamblers. Problem gamblers are spending on average $21,000 a year, and of course that’s money that’s not being spent taking kids to the footy, not being spent on their registration fees. We want to provide some help to those people who are addicted to poker machines.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

MACKLIN: We know how important these reforms are to help problem gamblers. Not only does the Government want to help problem gamblers, we know most parents, we know footy clubs are there to do a lot to help the vulnerable in our community, and that’s what these changes are about.

REPORTER: Will you listen to the clubs’ (inaudible)

MACKLIN: We are talking with the footy clubs, so we do understand how important it is to still have very, very strong national leagues. But also community clubs, we know that they will continue, but of course we’ll continue to work with them.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

MACKLIN: I think the evidence from the NRL and the AFL is that they’ve always stood up for vulnerable people in our community. And they, like the Government, have a duty of care to those people who are problem gamblers in our community.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

MACKLIN: I think they know that they do have a duty of care to work with the Government to address problem gambling and we’ll continue to do that.

REPORTER: Is there any prospect of compensation for (inaudible) clubs?

MACKLIN: Well we’ll continue to work with both of the codes, the NRL and the AFL. We know important it is to do that. We want them to continue to be strong football leagues in this country. I’m sure they will be because they’ve got such a strong supporter base.

REPORTER: So is that (inaudible)

MACKLIN: Well we’re still in the process of working through these reforms so of course we’ll continue to discuss the issues with them.